In February of 2014, my sister-in-law Connie told me about the LiveFIT Biggest Loser Challenge that she and her daughters were planning to participate in. I was somewhat familiar with the TV show and had heard about LiveFIT but had no idea how this challenge worked. I wanted to lose weight for my son’s September wedding in NYC (who wants to be the fattest person in all those pictures) so I was interested enough to try a bootcamp class. I felt sure this would keep me out of the competition since there was no way I could complete a class. I had seen those women out there! I was coming to this class at around 250 pounds, an ankle fusion, no balance and two bad knees!!
That First Class
With no optimism, I walked to the square for my first bootcamp class and was immediately welcomed by Dianna and Kris. They held my hand and encouraged me as I struggled to get through the hour. I could not get up and down from the ground without assistance so they put me near the park bench. I had trouble walking around the parking lot but they stayed beside me so I could grab them when I lost my balance. They showed me modifications, provided support, and I made it!! Walking home, several ladies from the class told me I did well, offered me a ride home and let me know they were glad I was there. I was surprised at the feeling of instant community that day.
I joined LiveFIT’s Biggest Loser Challenge in March. My team consisted of two nieces, two nephews in law, one sister in law and a friend. I’ve done Weight Watchers, Weigh Down workshop, Atkins and more. I’m pretty good at dieting so I was sure I could lose a little weight and suffer through bootcamp enough to be worth my time and money. My hope was to walk away with a little weight loss that would last until the wedding. However, during the next 8 weeks I adopted life style changes that resulted in a 2nd place win, beat out by only .05 %!!!
Sure, I began seeing a change which was exciting but the determining factor to continue this journey to health was and still is the coaches! Adina, Becky and the other LiveFIT coaches always give me the right words, a modification, a hug, a “good job”, a “push through”, “last one best one” or “you can do anything for 10 seconds…” all the while complimenting my progress. I am not a touchy-feely type and I will not be the one in front of class shouting whoo hoo but what these people did to inspire me to be better and healthier transformed me more then I can ever express. So I continued to eat healthy and attend bootcamp at least 3 times a week until the next challenge.
By September t I had gone from a tight size 26 to a loose size 16. No carbs, no sweets, nothing fried and the exercising had paid off. I could enjoy the wedding and actually splurge on a piece of cake and mashed potatoes. I saw how proud my sons were of all I had accomplished and I even had the confidence to dance at the reception!!
My top weight was 262 and my current weight is 136. More importantly my blood-work is a testimony in itself. Prior to LiveFIT I was diagnosed with high cholesterol, diabetes and high blood pressure. Today all are within normal limits and no medications are required! With regular bootcamp workouts, my balance problems have vastly improved. I recently climbed up and down the mountains in East TN. I’ve gone from a size 26 to a size 10.
During this 18 month journey, I have been asked many times to tell my story. I am 58 and I have been obese since I was 18 years old so it was unimaginable to have a story about weight lost and healthy eating. I love all things sweet, most things fried and hate jogging!!! All my life I have walked into a room and observed immediately that I was the fattest person there. Thoughts like “Can I squeeze between the restaurant tables” “Will the airline seat belt fasten or do I need the extender” and “Don’t look in the mirror” were common!
I still at times question how long this will last. and whether I can maintain this “new me”. Over the last few months I have realized I want this to be my new normal. I want to choose health over food so I can chase my grandkids and, if blessed, grow old with my husband. Because of that, I will continue to ask the restaurant to prepare my eggs and spinach with no grease, have my salad dressing on the side, walk instead of ride, drink water and (although I still hate it) try to jog!!! I want accountability from my LiveFIT coaches and I want my sons to see my happiness!
This mindset does not come easy so please do not think it has been all fun and games. This is one of the hardest things I have accomplished. I remind myself often that I cannot exercise away a bad diet. My daily prayer is to thank God for making bodies which can be changed even after years of abuse, for strength every hour to make good choices and to have people in my life to encourage me as I continue taking care of this wonder gift of health that should not to be taken for granted.